Supplement to Newsletter
Edited by Eddie Fernandes,
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September 1996
Child Sex Trade in Goa: Petition progress and further developments.
By Eddie Fernandes

The previous issue of Contact ( June 1996, vol. 7 no.2 page 17) carried an article about Paedophilia in Goa. A form was included in the issue asking for support in a signature campaign. Your response has been overwhelming! Readers of Contact were responsible for 5,604 of the 9,338 signatures collected in the UK. Besides, the UK effort more than trebled the Canadian contribution.

As we go to Press, the arrangements are in hand for presenting the signatures to the Chief Minister of Goa. We (the Goan Internet Community) will also be holding a Press Conference in Sweden on the occasion of the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. 27-31 August 1996. Over 1.000 delegates will be at the Congress that will be opened by Queen Silvia of Sweden. In July this year she provoked a political storm by demanding publicly that the local laws be tightened after a Swede who was recently charged with committing paedophile offences in Goa has so far been able to avoid extradition.

In Sweden we will have the support of: Alfred Tavares, a Goan journalist based in Sweden who will represent us there. Ron O'Grady, head of EPCAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism), Julia O'Connery Davidson, Reader in Sociology at Leicester University whose has recently completed a first-hand study of Paedophilia in Goa which will be launched at the Swedish Congress and Sheela Barse, Child's Rights activist based in Bombay whose determination led to the conviction of Freddy Peat.

There have been some additional developments in the battle: to curb paedophilia. Besides the Swede mentioned above, three other people have been charge-sheeted for child sex offences in Goa after investigations by Interpol and the CBI. The British Government has softened its attitude with regard to bringing to book its nationals who commit such offences abroad. It now favours extradition arrangements rather than demanding that the accused be tried in this Country. The problem in Goa has been highlighted in various places and two of these deserve mention. In June, Renovacao (Renewal) the official Pastoral Bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa carried an Editorial headlined "Stop Child Sex Trade:" To quote: "The initiative for a massive petition seems to have originated among Goans settled abroad, particularly in Canada and England, who are worried and outraged by the spread of this frightful scourge in their beloved land." The issue also carried a petition form identical to the one in Contact except that it had a local address for the return of the signed sheets.

THE WEEK, a news magazine published in Kerala devoted 6 pages in the issue dated 4 Aug. to an article headlined: "Sex Tourism -Goa's children are falling easy prey to hordes of Western paedophiles."

Back to the UK Campaign. Mario Cabral e Sa in an article that appeared in the Sunday Navhind Times noted the Campaign being conducted by the Asian Chaplaincy in England. He also mentioned the initiative of his friend Patrick D'Souza who having read Contact, decided to form an organisation called PAPA (People Against Paedophiles Abroad). Patrick collected 475 signatures in the High Street of his Berkshire town.

We had a massive response from Welling in Kent. Enquiries led me to Sue D'Souza who collected 681 signatures. She did most of her campaigning after Church services. There were many other pockets of concentrations by Contact readers - T. Fernandes of Rayleigh, Essex and Dr J. Fernandez in Dublin come to mind but I am certain that there were many more I have missed

Special thanks are due to Fr Andrew Fernandes, the Chaplain for generating the publicity, Francisco D'Souza, the Editor of Contact for extending deadlines and the untiring Robert D'Souza for dealing with the problems.

The Campaign was publicized elsewhere within the UK. The West London Goans Newsletter devoted most of the issue to paedophilia in Goa and carried the petition form. The Secretary of the Association, Margaret Braganza and Editor Antonetta Mankoo were responsible for the publicity. One of their readers, Tessy D'Souza who works for an UK airline is undoubtedly the Champion collector. She gathered 1,764 signatures from as far afield as Canada and Australia. Regulations did not permit her to approach passengers with the form but she took one wherever she went - hotels, buses, churches, shops, etc. She found it a tremendously moving and uplifting experience.

The signature petition was promoted widely at Goan Community religious, social and sports events –including Siolim, Aldona, Benaulim, Calangute, Sangolda BBQ and Tivim socials; Holy Land and Aylesford pilgrimages; youth disco; football, hockey and card games. Josephine Fernandes of the Benaulim Association produced 409 signatures and Save Goa Campaign, 306.

The Standing Committee of Goan Organizations (SCOGO) sponsored the Petition Campaign at their Festival on 14 July 1996 that was attended by over 1,800 people. Daryl Pereira mounted an exhibition of some Press cuttings and presented a computer-assisted display of the Campaign. A team of volunteers collected signatures from the assembled crowds. Anthony D'Souza the Chair of SCOGO and Juliette de Menezes, the Secretary played a special role in making this possible. The West London Goans paid the printing costs of these petition forms.

Then there were the Champions from other countries. Tobias Kollmann and Inez Vincent organised a petition drive among staff and students of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York and sent in 564 signatures.

Quite deliberately we made no attempt to collect any funds during the Campaign. The package of signatures had to be delivered quickly and safely to Goa. The costs of doing so were met by DHL, after being approached by Rabi Martins. It would appear that with this issue, everyone is eager to help! The children of Goa thank you.

(From: Contact, London, September 1996, vol.7 no.3.)


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